Argentina's privatization program: experience, issues, and by Myrna Alexander, Carlos Corti, World Bank

By Myrna Alexander, Carlos Corti, World Bank

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Extra info for Argentina's privatization program: experience, issues, and lessons, Page 93

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Without a rapid privatization effort, this deal could not have been closed so early. Moreover, the financial situation of many public enterprises deteriorated even more once a decision was made to sell. It was difficult to maintain financial discipline and staff morale when such a major change of ownership was known to be pending. Rapid sale was the only way to stem these growing losses. Combined with the speed of the Argentine program was the decision to begin with the largest, most difficult enterprises: the airline, telephone company, and railways.

In retrospect, it is possible that, if the government had not taken both of these labor actions before privatization, it could not have sold some of the enterprises, particularly the railways and major steel plant. Given the need to ensure the provision and quality of the new companies' services, the government required internationally recognized technical op- Page 22 erators in the prequalification of many bidding consortia, particularly those in public utilities, railways, and major industrial plants.

For example, the autonomy granted the National Telecommunications Commission was originally abused; the members of the commission essentially did little work and its executiveat the suggestion of the World Bankfinally had to intervene. The Bank and the government are now preparing a regulatory project to assist the development of these newly created regulatory agencies. Finally, there is the concentration of asset ownership resulting from the privatization program. In retrospect, this was probably to be expected, since it stemmed from the speed of the privatization effort (discussed above), the initial low credibility of the government abroad, and the desire to prequalify bidders on their financial soundness.

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Argentina's privatization program: experience, issues, and by Myrna Alexander, Carlos Corti, World Bank
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